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tv   [untitled]    May 31, 2012 10:30am-11:00am EDT

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regulation on how internet traffic is handled, several nations are set on asserting intergovernmental control over the internet. now, we have had real battles here over the issue of net neutrality. and it seems to me that we're calling on the international community for hands off. international net neutrality as it were when it comes to the internet. ball canizing the internet would and could bring about censorship and make that the norm. in the words of vince surf who is here the today, quote, the decisions taken in dubai in december have the potential to put government handcuffs on the net. i think that we can all agree that the adoption of these proposals is a very serious threat to the free transparent and open internet as we know it
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today. this is reflected in the bipartisan resolution that i join my colleagues in introducing yesterday, and today's hearing along with the bipartisan congressional internet caucus briefing which i'm co-sponsoring next week, are an opportunity to discuss these issues and send a strong message that intergovernmental control over the internet will uproot the innovation, openness and transparency enjoyed by nearly 2.3 billion users around the world. we want to keep it that way. we want that to double, we want it to quadruple, we want it to keep growing. and so it seems to me that what we discuss today is of great, great importance. i also think we need to inoculate other countries with the ideas that will help take them away from where they are now. i don't think this can be america against the rest of the
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world. i think we need to form coalitions around the ideas that have worked. and that they, too, can share in what we know as one of the most exciting inventions and adventures of not only the last century burt this one as well. i think i have one second left so i don't have time to yield and i apologize. >> now recognize the chairman of the full committee, the gentleman from michigan, mr. upton. >> thank you, mr. chairman. the international community is going to meet in december to decide whether to regulate the internet under rules designed for the 1980 era. telephone networks. on the table is a proposal to expand the jurisdiction of the u.n.'s international telecommunication union to cover the internet. moving away from the current multi-stakeholder governance model that has fostered the modern internet. also at issue is whether to impose rate regulation on the exchange of internet traffic across national borders.
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both of these are terrible ideas. in a time of economic uncertainty and turmoil the internet does remain a job creation engine that fosters innovation, brings the folks of the world together in new ways, drives global discussion of important social matters. the internet has become this economic and social juggernaut because the government took a step back and let the private sector drive its evolution. the non-regulatory multi-stakeholder model allows the internet community to guide its evolution and provided the flexibility that the internet needs to flourish as the demands placed on it grow. the ipu and the internationalnality settlement of rates regime were designed around old fashioned networks and services when there was less competition. the internet is a different technology and this is a different era. international regulatory intrusion into the internet would have disastrous results
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not only for the u.s. but around the world. i would strongly urge the administration to continue u.s. support for the multi-stakeholder model in its talks leading up to the dubai meeting this december and i yield to the gentle lady from california. >> i thank you the chairman. as the uss prepares to take part in the world conference in dubai, we need to provide the delegation with a clear and unmistakable manday. keep the internet free of government control. at the wicket discussions a new treaty will be debated. most worrisome to me are efforts by some countries to provide the u.n. with unprecedented new authority over the management of the internet. to prevent this from happening i introduced house concurrent regs loogs 127, i'd like to thank my co-sponsors chairman upton, ranking member waxman, subcommittee chairman walden and eshoo. in many way this is is a referendum on the future of the internet. for nearly a decade the u.n. has
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been angling quietly to become the epicenter of internet governance. a vote for our resolution is a vote to keep the enternet free from government control and prevent russia, china, india as well as other nations from succeeding in giving the u.n. unprecedented power over web content and infrastructure. if this power grab is successful i'm concerned that the next arab spring will instead be a russian winter where free speech is chilled not encouraged and the internet become as wasteland of unfilled hopes, dreams and opportunities. we simply cannot let that happen. thank you, mr. chairman, i yield back. >> now recognize mr. sterns. >> thank you. following up with your comments and chairman upton about the monopoly from the 19th century which we don't want to go back to, is there anybody in this room who thinks that the united nations could competently manage the internet? raise your hands. i don'ts think anybody does.
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i think all of the witnesses will testify this morning that we must maintain the current multi-stakeholder decentralized approach. and this itu which is the international telecommunication union, it's a part of the united nation, and would require other countries to fund, build out the communication networks and give them full jurisdiction. i again don't believe that we want to punt this to the u.n. these approaches constitute a frontal attack on dynamic approach that we have presently, so i want to promote the unified bipartisan message against international regulation of the internet, that's why we're here today and i want to emphasize today that such an approach that we see from others is a non-starter for the united states. i yield. >> recognize the gentle lady from tennessee, miss blackburn. >> thank you, mr. chairman. welcome to our witnesses, we are glad that you are here in this room but i have no doubt that all around the world people are
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streaming this hearing because they want to see what our posture on this is going to be and i think as you've heard, that there is agreement, both sides of the aisle, that giving authority to an international governing body would put our nation's sovereignty at risk. we're concerned about that. and i think that the obama administration should be commended for helping thwart this power grab and i think we also need to realize this is one of those areas where it raises the concerns we had about this administration's effort to undermine our efforts, congress's efforts, in this developing fight against international regulatory schemes over the internet, because this administration moved forward with regulations over the management of networks in the united states. we're going to continue to work to rein in the explosion of the
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fcc, now is the time to execute a serious game plan that deals with those that would put international politics ahead of an open and prosperous internet, we may have our differences on domestic telecommunications policy, but having those policies decided at the international level would be the worst thing that could happen for the future of the internet. welcome to everyone, i appreciate the time. >> chair recognizes the ranking member, mr. waxman for five minutes. >> thank you mr. chairman for holding this hearing. it's an important hearing as we look down the road to an international conference where some of the proposals if adopted would fundamentally alter the way the internet operates today, undermining the decentralized multi-stakeholder approach to internet governance. it has allowed the internet to flourish and become such a powerful engine for social and
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economic progress. as we will hear from our witnesses today, people can also sense from the opening statements, there is a strong bipartisan consensus throughout the administration and congress that we must resist efforts by some countries to impose a top-down command and control management regime on the internet. this bipartisan consensus is reflected in 127, a resolution introduced yesterday by chair bono mack and co-sponsored by chairman upton, myself, chairman walden and ranking member eshoo. simply put, this resolution affirms that democrats and republicans both want the administration to continue advancing our national commitment to the multi-stakeholder model of internet governance and a global open internet. we have two distinguished panels of witnesses today. we have a long history of
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working on this issue. i want to welcome ambassador phil verveer who will be one of the administration's lead negotiators on the treaty known as the international telecommunications regulations at the world conference on international telecommunications in december. and i believe that ambassador verveer's experience in communications and antitrust law will serve the u.s. position well. we're pleased to have commissioner rob mcdowell back to our subcommittee. he has been focused on this issue for some time, been expressing a strong leadership position and we're pleased to have him with us. our second panel is also highly experienced, former ambassador david gross and sally wentworth, both served the the previous administration with distinction and have significant experience with information and communications technology sectors. and i want to welcome vince surf as one of the founders of the
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internet, dr. surf will be able to provide us with a unique perspective about how some of the proposals before the international meeting threaten the security and stability of the internet. we all agree that the current and past administrations deserve credit for the reference to ensure the internet remains a tool for global dissemination of ideas, information and commerce, there is no daylight between house democrats and house republicans or the administration on this issue. while largely focused on the upcoming world conference we should not lose sight of the fact that the push for more centralized control over the internet is occurring through other international venues as well. mr. chairman, i want to yield the balance of my time to miss matsui. >> thank you, ranking member for yielding me time.
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i also want to welcome ambassador verveer and commissioner mcdowell and the rest of the panelists for joining us today. as we know in today's global economy with well over 2 billion users, the internet has become a necessity and not a luxury. and that is why i believe that a free transparent and open internet must continue. the current multi-stakeholder approach has allowed the internet to flourish here in the u.s. and around the world. any international authority over the internet is troublesome. particularly if those efforts are being led by countries where censorship is the norm. i agree with many of our witnesses that it would harm efforts to combat cyber attacks, decrease adoption, innovation of the latest technologies, and interfere with many fundamental principles that allow the internet to be an equal system for innovation and growth. i'm also pleased that the administration understands these concerns and believes as such an
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international mandated framework is simply will not work. we need to continue to promote innovation and openness of internet around the globe. i believe that the multi-stakeholder approach must continue to define internet governance and with that i yield back the balance of my time. >> yield back. >> now i think we proceed to the witnesses. we're delighted to have you both here and ambassador verveer, deputy assistant secretary of state and u.s. coordinator for international communication and information policy, we welcome you and commissioner robert mcdowell, we welcome you back. ambassador verveer, thank you forshing with us. we look forward to your testimony. if you -- pull that mike close. we'll all be able to hear. you need to push the button. >> chairman walden, ranking member eshoo and members of the
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subcommittee thank you for this opportunity. i am particularly pleased to appear with my friend commissioner robert mcdowell and i'm very happy that the subcommittee will hear later from my friend ambassador david gross from sally wentworth who played a significant role in internet governance matters during her service at the state department and of course from vince surf without whom we might not have the internet at all. over the years, relatively small number of governments have made proposals to change today's successful approach to internet governance. typically, these proposals involve the united nations and one of its many manifestations including the general assembly, the commission on science and technology for development, and the international telecommunication union. the u.s. government and others have successfully opposed these proposals but it is important to recognize that this will be a continuing debate. from the privatization of the internet in the mid 1990's the united states has been committed to a multi-stakeholder approach
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to its governance, that has been true from one administration to another. it is not too strong to say unanimous bipartisan support. the present internet governance relies on specialized institutions of which the internet society ican, the ietf and world wide web consortium are important examples. they are note worthy for two things. the first is their expertise and inclusiveness and openness. the second is the remarkable success they have achieved. this is one of the reasons we wish to preserve these institutionings as the instruments of internet governance. they work and they work remarkably well. there are two other reasons underlying our commitment to preventing the internet from falling subject to intergovernmental controls. first, it inevitably would one of the internet's greatest strengthses, arrangement evolve
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organically in response to changes in technology, business practice and consumer behavior. for reasons that cannot be overcome intergovernmental controls would prevent this. second, intergovernmental controls could be repression. the united states is committed to the free flow of information. we appreciate that some nations do not share these commitments. we particularly wish to preclude developments that threaten to reduce internet freedom that would impair freedom of expression, assembly or association online. as an alternative to intergovernmental controls, the united states encourages governments to adopt multi-stakeholder transparent and decentralized approaches. last year's high level meeting at the oecd exemplified and codified this approach. with respect to the world conference on international
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telecommunications, in december representatives of 193 nations will gather in dubai to consider revisions to the international telecommunications regulations. a year and more ago there was concern that the wicket would be a battle over investing the itu with explicit governance authority and that the conference participants would be confronting wholly new stand alone draft text proposing provisions. in response, the united states advanced the advantages of using the existing itus as a basis for treaty negotiations. i'm pleased to say the majority agreed with us in this regard. the existing itrs have been accepted as a framework for negotiations. there are no pending proposals to vest the itu with the direct internet governance authority. instead thus far traditional telecom issues have taken center stage. the state department's preparation for the wicket have been in progress for about 18
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months. on an ongoing bases we host the i want national telecommunications advisory committee or itack, a forum open to all interested parties to review and advise on regional and national contributions to wicket as they are submitted. earlier we established our core delegation consisting of u.s. government officials. in september we will complete delegation with the addition of private sector members. earlier this week the president advised the senate of his selection of terry kramer of california as the united states head of delegation and of his intention to confer ambassador rank on mr. kramer in connection with this assignment. a great deal of preparatory work has been done. a great more remains to be done. in our work the united states has the significant advantage of unanimity of purpose. we benefit from the fact that government officials of both parties, civil society, and the corporate sector all are
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committed to the preservation of the multi-stakeholder model. and the resolution which was introduced this week and which has been mentioned today, is a very important contribution to showing that unanimity. we look forward to continuing to work with the congress as we approach the wicket and other matters that involve internet governance. i appreciate the opportunity you are providing with this hearing to affirm the continuing value of our approach to internet governance. not just to u.s. citizens but to everyone in the world. i'd be pleased to respond to questions you might have. >> thank you. we appreciate the work you put into your testimony and the work you're doing for the country. we turn now to commissioner mcdowell. appreciate you being here and your loud and clear voice on this issue as well. please. and we welcome your son as well. you want to introduce your special assistant there today? >> yes. one of my many supervisors my oldest son griffin is 12. this is his first day of summer
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vacation. he wanted to see how his tax dollars were being spent. >> you brought him here for that. >> he press conference after the hearing. >> that's right. >> thank you very much, mr. chairman and ranking member eschew and all members of the subcommittee. a pleasure to be here today and an extreme honor to be seated next to my friend and colleague, ambassador revere, as well as right before the next panel good friends, as well, ambassador gross, dr. surf, and his mintworth as well. they're going to be outstanding witnesses. first, please let me allow to dispense quickly and emphatically any doubts international internationally about the bipartisan resolve of the united states to resist efforts to expand the itu's authority over internet matters. some itu officials have dismissed our concerns over this issue as mere election-year politics and nothing could be further from the truth as
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evidenced by ambassador revere's testimony today as well as recent statements from the white house, executive branch agencies, democratic and republican members of congress, and my friend and colleague at the s.e.c., chairman julius jankowski. we are unified on the substantive arguments and always have been. second, it is important to define the challenge before us. the threats are real and not imagined, although they admittedly sound like works of fiction at some times. for many years now scores of countries led by china, russia, iran, saudi arabia, but many, many others have pushed for, as vladimir putin said almost a year ago, international control of the internet through the itu. now, i've tried to find a more concise way to express this issue, but i can't seem to improve on mr. putin's
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crystallization of the effort that has been afoot for quite some time. more importantly, i think we should take mr. putin's designs very seriously. six months separate us from the renegotiation of the 1988 treaty that led to insulating the internet from economic and technical regulation. what proponents of internet freedom do or don't do between now and then will determine the fate of the net and effect global economic growth as well as determine whether political liberty can proliferate. during the treaty negotiations, the most lethal threat to internet freedom may not come from a full frontal assault but through insidious and seemingly innocuous expansions of intergovernmental powers. this subterranean effort is already under way. while influential itu member states have put forth proposals calling for overt legal expansions of united nations rights of itu's authority over
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the net, itu officials have publicly declared that the itu does not intend to regulate internet governance while also saying that any regulations should be of the light-touch variety. but which is it? it is not possible to insulate the internet from new rules while also establishing a light-touch regulatory regime. either a new legal paradigm will emerge in december or it won't. the choice is binary. additionally, as a threshold matter, it is curious that itu officials have been opining on the outcome of the treaty negotiation. the itu's member states determine the fate of any new rules, not itu leadership or staff. i remain hopeful that the diplomatic process will not be subverted in this regard. as a matter of process and substance, patient and persistent incrementalism is the net's most dangerous enemy, and
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incrementalism is the tactical hallmark of in countries that are pushing the pro-regulation agenda. specifically, some itu officials and member states have been discussing an alleged worldwide phone numbering crisis. it seems that the world may be running out of phone numbers, over which the itu does have some jurisdiction. today many phone numbers are used for voice over internet protocol services such as skype or google voice. to function properly, the software supporting these services translate traditional phone numbers into ip or internet addresses. the russian federation has proposed that the itu be given jurisdiction over ip addresses to remedy the phone number shortage. what is left unsaid, however, is is that potential itu jurisdiction over ip addresses would enable it to regulate internet services and devices with abandon. ip addresses are a fundamental and essential component to the inner workings of the net. taking their administration away
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from the bottom up, nongovernmental, multistakeholder model, and placing it boo the hands of international bureaucrats would be a grave mistake. other efforts to expand the itu's region for the internet are seemingly small but are tectonic in scope. take, for example, the arab states' submission from february that would change the rules definition of telecommunications to include processing or computer functions. this change would essentially swallow the internet's functions with only a tiny edit to existing rules. when itu leadership claims that no member states have proposed absorbing internet govp nance into the itu or intergovernmental entities, the arab states' submission alone demonstrates that nothing could be further from the truth. an infinite number of avenues exist to accomplish the same goal and it is camouflaged subterfuge that proponents of
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internet freedom should watch for most vigilantly for years to come. other examples come from china. china would like to see the creation of a system whereby internet users are registered using their ip addresses. in fact, last year, china teamed up with russia, tajikistan, uzbekistan and uzbekistan to propose to the u.n. general assembly that it create, quote, an international code of conduct for information security. to, quote, mandate international norms and rules standardizing the behavior of countries concerning information in cyber space, end quote. now, does anyone here today believe these country's proposals would encourage the continued proliferation of an open and freedom-enhancing internet? or would such constructs make it easier for authoritarian regimes to identify and silence political dissidence? these proposals may not technically be part of the negotiations, at least not yet, but they give a sense of where
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some of the itu's member states would like to go. still other proposals, very quickly, that have been made personally to me by foreign government officials include the creation of an international universal service fund of sorts whereby foreign, usually state owned, telecom companies would use international mandates to charge certain web destinations on a per-click basis to fund the buildout of broadband infrastructure across the globe. estimates of that start at $800 billion. google, itunes, facebook, and netflix are mentioned most often as prime sources of funding. in short, and in conclusion, the u.s. and like-minded proponents of internet freedom and prosperity across the globe should resist efforts to expand the powers of intergovernmental bodies over the internet even in the smallest of ways. as my supplemental statement and analysis explains in more detail, such a scenario would be devastating to global economic activity as well as political
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freedom, but it would hurt the developing world the most. thank you for the opportunity to appear before you today, and i look forward to your questions. >> we appreciate your work in this matter and your testimony today before the subcommittee. ambassador revere, in a blog post you wrote with assistant secretary of commerce lauren strictly, white house deputy chief technology officer daniel wiesner, you said, and i quote, centralized control of the internet through a top-down government approach would put political deal makers rather than inveinovators and experts charge of the future of the internet. this would slow the pace of innovation, hamper economic development and lead to an era of unprecedented control over what people can say and do online, end quote. would you elaborate on that statement for us and then perhaps commissioner mcdowell, you might make a comment or to, as well. >> that's right. i'd be glad to, mr. chairman. basically, the anxiety we have about top-down arrangements involves both the economic performance of the internet if
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you will in terms of its dynamism, in terms of its ability to react to opportunities, the technology changes present, the business models present, changes in consumer behavior might present. we also are very concerned about whether or not top-town intergovernmental controls would aid in censorship or repression, that is, would aid any particular country that is concerned about the content that comes into this country that crosses its borders, whether or not these kinds of changes might permit it to claim that it's entitled to the aid of other countries in terms of preventing unwanted content. we believe both for economics but also for reasons of the broader political cultural social value of the internet it ought to be kept operating as it is today. >> commissioner mcdowell, any comment? >> i agree. i thought, by

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